Whooping Cranes (Readers Advance Science Readers)


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Learn good wildlife watching behavior from the Texas Guide for Wildlife Watching. Read some of the wonderful articles in this month's issue of TPWD magazine. Then have students cut out pictures of birds in the magazine to make posters, trading cards or greeting cards with fun facts about that bird. Have students make presentations about birds. Choose an interesting aspect about birds such as bills, migration, feet, color or other. To get you started here are some links: Whooping cranes In addition to whooping cranes and hummingbirds, consider some of the species mentioned in the magazine such as the Yellow-billed cuckoo or mergansers.

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For example, here are few interesting facts on these waterfowl: The Hooded merganser winters on wooded rivers and lakes from the Panhandle to the lower Gulf Coast. It dives underwater for most of its food, which includes small fish, frogs, crustaceans, mollusks, and aquatic insects. A cavity nester that requires large cavities or manmade nest boxes. The Common merganser winters on large freshwater lakes. It eats mostly fish.

The merganser and has a serrated bill to hold slippery prey. It also dives underwater for crustaceans and mollusks. The Red-breasted merganser tolerates both fresh and saltwater. Due to the high volume of feedback, we are unable to respond to individual comments. Sorry, but we can't respond to individual comments. Recent searches Clear All. Update Location. If you want NextDay, we can save the other items for later. Yes—Save my other items for later. No—I want to keep shopping.

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We moved your item s to Saved for Later. There was a problem with saving your item s for later. You can go to cart and save for later there. Whooping Cranes - eBook. Average rating: 0 out of 5 stars, based on 0 reviews Write a review. For locations west of the median, we found 8 analysis windows with easterly shifts and, for 7 windows, the decrease was significantly different from 0 Fig 3A.

The greatest magnitude shift was in central South Dakota 1. Between northern Oklahoma and central Saskatchewan, we observed consistent rates of shifting closer to the median i. In 2 analysis windows in northern Alberta and northern Texas, locations shifted outward from the median. For locations east of the historic median, we observed significant changes in 3 analysis windows, 2 decreasing westerly and 1 increasing easterly.

Westerly shifts occurred in central Saskatchewan and northern Alberta, whereas an easterly shift occurred in central Nebraska Fig 3C and 3D.


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The remainder showed changes close to 0 or were not estimated with enough precision to be distinguished from 0. Estimated rate of shift at 13 analysis windows for locations that were west A and east C of the median line of the migration corridor. Predicted distance of locations along the migration corridor during black circles and solid line and gray triangles and line west B and east D of the corridor center.

The gray dashed line represents the migration corridor median line and numbers at each point identify centers of 13 km windows used in analyses. We delineated a well-defined and relatively narrow migration corridor for the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population of whooping cranes, the only self-sustaining population of this endangered species. This migration corridor generally included areas of the Great Plains similar to those identified by past work [ 12 , 14 , 15 ].

Our corridor provides a robust estimate that incorporated opportunistic sightings that were used in past corridor estimates and GPS locations from more current marking efforts. Defining where whooping cranes are most likely to occur during migration can be useful for managers to target conservation, mitigation, and recovery actions and assess threats.

World’s biggest whooping crane breeding program winds down | Science | AAAS

Just as sufficient resources are required at wintering and nesting areas to promote population growth, stopover sites with suitable roosting sites and food promote survival during migration and reproduction once reaching breeding areas. Grassland and wetland losses in the Great Plains have been extensive and, because of limited financial resources, efforts to protect and restore these ecosystems must be strategic [ 29 ]. Location within the migration corridor could serve as evidence of high potential use by whooping cranes and be used to prioritize easement purchases or restoration efforts [ 2 ], or to identify additional critical habitat under federal legislation.

For example, predicted densities of upland-nesting waterfowl have factored into where wetland easements and conservation reserve program efforts have been placed within U. Prairie Pothole Region [ 30 — 32 ]. Agencies also can use the corridor to assess potential impacts of proposed projects when they are tasked with determining potential short and long-term adverse effects to whooping cranes. For example, certain threats like those posed by infrastructure related to wind energy production may have high levels of overlap and have potential to cause negative impacts e.

Understanding the spatial distribution of threats in relationship to the migratory corridor is important to mitigating those threats. Predictions of where those threats may arise in the future should be used to better implement conservation strategies for migrating whooping cranes. We suspect latitudinal differences were due to differences in wetland density and distribution throughout the migration corridor. Areas with lower densities of wetlands, specifically in the southern and central Great Plains, likely provide fewer stopover options for whooping cranes [ 35 ].

Moreover, reservoirs and stock ponds were conspicuous in these regions, potentially providing more permanent surface water resources [ 36 ]. These spatial patterns and wetland dynamics would require and allow for a more constrained corridor in areas used by many birds, especially in Oklahoma and Kansas.

A wider corridor in these areas may be a result of cranes searching for suitable wetlands across years of differing wetland conditions. Numerous migratory bird species have responded to environmental changes by adapting when and where they migrate [ 37 ]. Many of these modifications were phenology changes, where birds initiated migrations and arrived on breeding areas earlier than in the past [ 38 — 41 ].

Changes to spatial distribution during migration also have occurred, where birds occupied different or novel areas [ 42 ]. Decades of whooping crane sightings have revealed detectable changes in their migration route across the Great Plains and these changes have been supported by more recent telemetry data S1 Table. An easterly centerline shift, most pronounced in South Dakota but apparent from northern Oklahoma to Saskatchewan, arose primarily because locations west of the long term median line shifted eastward over the past few decades.

Conversely, we did not detect a strong trend in locations east of the median line moving eastward, suggesting that the eastern extreme of the corridor has been less dynamic. Thus, the observed shift did not occur because cranes began using novel areas east of the centerline. Reasons for these shifts throughout over half of the migratory corridor could be related to ecological phenomena or biases in data collection.

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Although opportunistic sightings have been identified as subject to errors based on variable precision of reported sightings [ 43 ], we believe precision differences were modest when compared to estimates we derived and had little influence on our results. Opportunistic sightings also have potential bias because of haphazard sampling [ 15 , 26 ]. Moreover, our analysis method provided a means to assess potential bias in opportunistic sightings.

We derived prior distributions of slope parameters from initial analyses of opportunistic sightings exclusively, and updated those priors with information from telemetry data. Therefore, general conclusions that could be drawn from opportunistic sighting data only were generally confirmed when considering telemetry data. As example, this was the case for analysis window 6, in which we found a median difference of 9. From an ecological perspective, changes in the migration corridor were likely related to how birds reacted to changes in key resources.

Saving the Whooping Crane

Migration routes for midcontinent lesser snow geese Chen caerulescens caerulescens have shifted from a pathway along the Missouri River to one that includes a stopover in the Rainwater Basin Area in southcentral Nebraska where abundant waste corn and roost wetlands exist [ 44 , 45 ].

For whooping cranes, we speculate that the migration route changed because of modified patterns in surface water availability or upland habitat composition e. If surface water availability decreased in the western part of the migration corridor in response to changes in precipitation patterns or other factors [ 46 ], whooping cranes may have shifted areas used eastward in search of this critical resource, with cultural and social learning reinforcing this shift. Similar to reasons for the route shift, any potential consequences of corridor change are speculative.

Continuation of an easterly shift in the migration corridor may result in whooping cranes traveling through areas with less public knowledge and education of this endangered species, with fewer protected lands, and using a route that will increase total travel distance between wintering and breeding sites.

Eastern parts of the Dakotas and Nebraska have been modified to a greater extent by human activities than western portions of these states, with higher rates of grassland conversion to cropland and wetland drainage [ 47 , 48 ]. Given these landscape modifications, whooping cranes may find fewer suitable stopover sites east of the current migration corridor, making further eastward shifts less likely. Continued reduced use of the western side of the corridor may suggest reduced availability of suitable stopover habitat, which would be a cause for concern if population growth declined from its current rate.

However, the corridor shift demonstrates individual variation and behavioral flexibility, which would seem to be a desirable characteristic for a wetland-dependent species migrating through the Great Plains where periodic droughts occur and may occur with greater future frequency and severity [ 49 ].

Continued plasticity in migration behaviors and routes could maintain resistance of the population and species given changing landscape conditions. Considering current positive population growth rate [ 50 ], there is little evidence that the easterly shift and modest contraction are cause for immediate concern to species recovery, yet long term consequences are unknown. Of greater certainty is that conservation organizations may need to consider refocusing efforts based on this updated corridor. Government agencies and non-governmental organizations use the migration corridor to target habitat projects, protection activities, and education.

Agencies may want to increase efforts in landscapes previously not prioritized while decreasing efforts in areas that historically received greater focus. Shifting species ranges makes targeted conservation and mitigation difficult, because threats outside the range today could occur within it in the future [ 35 ]. Use for conservation planning and management of the largest corridor we identified that included all migration locations since the s would provide a hedge against modest future shifts and interannual variability in habitat conditions for this endangered species.

Corridors were initially delineated using opportunistic sighting data only collected from — A and telemetry data collected — B. A combined corridor was calculated as a weighted average of the two C. Disclaimer: Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and the U.

Geological Survey and do not necessarily represent the views of the U. Fish and Wildlife Service. Chavez-Ramirez, B. Strobel, M. Harner, G. Wright, and B. Hartup, were integral to the initiation and continuation of the telemetry aspects of this work. Browse Subject Areas? Click through the PLOS taxonomy to find articles in your field.

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Abstract Defining and identifying changes to seasonal ranges of migratory species is required for effective conservation. Species and study area Whooping cranes of the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population represent the lone remnant population of this endangered species [ 13 ]. Data analyses Before beginning analyses, we projected opportunistic sightings and telemetry locations to the North America Equidistant Conic projection and used North American Datum of Download: PPT.

Fig 1. Fig 2. Temporal change in center and width of the whooping crane migration corridor based on opportunistic sightings and telemetry locations, — Fig 3. Discussion We delineated a well-defined and relatively narrow migration corridor for the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population of whooping cranes, the only self-sustaining population of this endangered species.

Supporting information. S1 Fig. S1 Table. Results of analyses to determine changes in characteristics of the whooping crane migration corridor, — Acknowledgments Disclaimer: Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U. References 1. Franklin J. Mapping species distributions: spatial inference and prediction. Cambridge University Press; The application of predictive modelling of species distribution to biodiversity conservation. Divers Distrib. View Article Google Scholar 3. Predicting species distributions for conservation decisions.

Ecol Lett. Conservation of grassland birds in North America: understanding ecological processes in different regions. Ornitho Monogr.

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